By: Ceceng Salamudin




So many horizontal conflicts and violences happen in the world. All is almost caused by difference of view on diversity among people. To solve the problem, we have to refer to the Qur’an. The research aims to identify multicultural values in modern exegeses. The method used is a qualitative-descriptive with a thematic approach in analyzing data. The result is that modern exegeses contains multicultural values.

Keyword: multicultural, modern exegeses, diversity



  1. Introduction

Naturally, people are social creation. For them, life in social environment is necessity. One of the verses in Qur’an revealed this case (49: 13). It clearly explains social relationship among people so that they need each other (Shihab, 2003). Role of people as part of life environment is very expected in managing and maintaining the nature so that it can be essential for them. The change of life environment done by people is accordance to Surah Ar-Ra’d [13]: 11. The explanation is as follows:

“This verse talks about two kinds of change with two actors. First, change of society that the actor is Allah and secondly, change of human self-condition (mental attitude) that the actor is human. Change done by God exactly happens through society rules that were passed. The rules don’t choose affection or differentiate between society/group with another society/group …” (Shihab, 2003).

The change of people mentality is done through education. In USA, education that supports change of society mental and is relevant to country goals is known as civic education that is education to strengthen and develop self government. In democratic society, civic education is “a must because ability to participate in democratic society, to critically think, and to consciously act in a plural word that requires empathy that enables us to listen and that’s why it can accommodate another group and all requires proportional ability”. Principally, civic education in USA has three main components; civic knowledge, civic skill those are intellectual and participation, and civic dispositions, those are main public and private characters. (Branson, 1999). Practically, civic education appreciates diversity of people culture. So, it is related to multiculturalism and multicultural education.

What is multiculturalism and (or) multicultural education? Multiculturalism is notion that describes race diversity that lives in a harmonic pluralism. Therefore, multicultural is related to pluralism that views diversity as reality of humanity (Sardar & Loon, 2003). Multicultural is diversity that should be understood as fact of humanity. So, it is not only notion or concept about diversity but also practice about existence of the diversity (Martono, 2003).

Concept of multiculturalism is core of multicultural education, which is process or strategy of education that aims to realize consciousness, tolerance, understanding, and knowledge that considers diversity of culture, and diversity and similarity among culture connected with world view, concept, value, belief, and life attitude.

Internationally, rule foundation of multicultural is based on Universal Declaration of Human Right that was legalized by the General Board in Resolution 217 A (111) on 10 December 1948 section 26 verse 1 that sounds:

“Multicultural education should be directed to fully develop human personality and strengthen the respect on human right and basic freedom. Multicultural education should improve understanding, tolerance, and brotherhood among all nations, racial groups, and religions and develop PBB’s activities in maintaining peace” (Nurkhairan, 2004).

Nationally, rule foundation of multicultural education is based on Rules of National Educational System number 20 year 2003. The fourth section of the third chapter (Principles of Education Implementation) sounds that “education is democratically and fairly done and based on the justice and also indiscriminative by glorifying human right, religious culture, cultural values, and nation diversity.”

Universal Declaration of human right and Rules of National Educational System show appreciation on human right as human basic freedom and on diversity as reality of humanity. Both also forbid discriminative action and support all individuals to glorify democracy.

Term of multicultural itself does not exist in Qur’an, however, its values became attention of modern mufasir, like being done by Ahmad Mushtafa Al-Maraghi in Tafsir al-Maraghi and M. Quraish Shihab in Tafsir al-Mishbah. Both explained presence of the certain values such as variety of culture containg in Surah al-Hujurat [49]: 13 that must be respected and applied in daily life. They also revealed three bad characters in Surah al-Hujurat [49]: 12, those are prohibition: (1) to have a prejudice againts people and accuse them to do treason by words and deeds because it is a sin per se, (2) to look for ugliness and shame of others, and (3) to talk about things they do not like because it is the same as we eat our own brother’s carcass (Al-Maraghi, 2006 and Shihab, 2010). Three prohibitons explain universal values ​​applied to anyone, and so they can be categorized as multicultural values.

Tafsir Al-Maraghi and Al-Mishbah become sample of this research because they are categorized as modern exegeses. The characteristics of modern exegeses are (1) very practical in revealing the sides of the modernity of the Qur’an (Baidan, 2003). Threfor, they are easily understood by all people and (2) very strong in building the foundations of modernity of the Qur’an and sharp in building arguments that could convince the reader why the Quran must be in accordance with the contemporer conditions. Modern exegeses contains the relevance of the concept of the multicultural with modern exegesis character. Multicultural concept closely relates to human universal values ​​ that becomes strength of human life regardless of gender, race, or religion, while the character of modern exegesis is relevant to the development of society. It develops universal values ​​in the interpretation and is very useful for all people with a background of different social status.

Tafsir al-Maraghi is the responsibility of the author towards the development of society at that time and also to address the challenges and problems of people who need a fundamental solution. Therefore, he tried hard to offer solutions to various problems of the people to interpret the Qur’an in accordance with the times so that it can be useful to society when faced with various problems of life.

Tafsir al-Mishbah was inseparable from the character of Indonesia as a country with diverse ethnicities and cultures, and it offers solutions to the problems of culture and beliefs diversity, such as the conflicts that rise a variety of horizontal violence in the name of religion, ideology, or class. The most recent example is the violence that occurred on the Jemaah Ahmadiyya because they are deemed to insult religion or violence perpetrated by terrorists based on their understanding on the holy book. This exegesis were written in 1998 and completed in 2007. Quraish Shihab is one of the pioneers in the use of maudhu’i method Indonesia after tahliliy was widely used in method of exegesis. He became an inspiration for researchers or writers of exegesis to develop and implement maudhu’i methods. The development and application of the method is in accordance with the reality of people who are faced with new problems that require the Qur’an (as a guide for humans) to solve them.

The rejection of the concept of multicultural emerges form people who think that concept of multicultural threatened education. A Muslim activist, Adian Husainy through his writings denies the book “Pendidikan Agama Berwawasan Multikultural” by Zakiyuddin Baidhawy. He did not agree that multicultural education will brighten religious education. According to him, even multicultural education with unity of all theology will destroy the nature of religious education because with such concept, religion will lose character of its nature. He quoted Dr. Anis Malik Thoha (an expert on religious pluralism) who repeatedly said that one of the evil characters of religious pluralism is its authoritarian character to dispose of all beliefs and replace them with a single “universal theology” (Husainy, 2009).

Based on the rejection on concept of multicultural and lots of conflict and violence in the name of religion and culture, continued research on multicultural should be done. Further studies will consider that polemic and conflicts with the scientific spectacles and examine the roots and then the result can be campaigned through dialogue among religions and cultures.

So, research on multicultural values ​​in the Quran conducted by mufassir (people who interpret the qur’an) is really needed to strengthen conceptual foundation of research on applying multicultural education in Islamic education institutions. The research will answer the following question: How are multicultural values ​​in modern exegeses?

  1. Literature Review

The research is based on Surah Ali ‘Imran [3]: 64 and al-Hujurat [49]: 13. Both indicates the concept of multiculturalism. The first verse relates to the meeting point of human civilization expected to build the same provision without the quarrel and hostile. This paragraph is in accordance with the concept of multicultural that talks about human provision not to quarrel with each other because of the differences among them. The second paragraph relates to the human equation as a single society because they have the same ancestor. The fact of differences in terms of nationality or class would be the reason why humans have to build a good relationship with each other and how to conduct positive social transactions. On this, multiculturalism strongly supports content of the two paragraphs because it is a political recognition on reality of diversity and how humans can peacefully coexist in the reality of diversity.

It is also based on filosofical foundation, that is concept of self-knowledge and liberal arts from Socrates and Plato. Both can be a philosophical basis for multicultural because they glorify human rights in all dimensions of life. Multicultural opens space as possible for the human right to life and encourage people to understand and recognize the existence of such rights. With the understanding and recognition, people could live in peace and be able to build a civilization that is useful to their lives. The first concept (self-knowledge) is related to the knowledge of someone who could promote understanding of the knowledge of others so that they can understand each other. In this context, multicultural encourages people to be able to understand the existence of the knowledge of others so that it is able to create mutual understanding among people. According to Socrates, self-knowledge is the educational foundation of each individual. Self-knowledge can only be achieved when one has grown. With maturity, self-knowledge can be formed in a structured education system so that it can determine good or bad, what should and should not be, and what can and can not be. Only adults according to Socrates can choose based on trust or confidence, and not because of mere emotion or feeling. If one’s self-knowledge is good, she would appreciate someone different from him. So, there is a relationship between self-knowledge and knowledge or belief of others. If someone wants to understand culture of others, she must understand her own culture (Liliweri, 2009).

The second concept (liberal arts) reveales that human being is free to find out anything as they wish. This freedom is a guarantee for anyone to be the best in the world. In line with this, multiculturalism respects human freedom to immerse ourselves in the search and construction of knowledge. Plato does not explicitly mention multiculturalism, but the principles of multiculturalism can be traced in a design of liberal arts education curriculum, which quality is commensurate with the curriculum of politics or economics or approaches of both. Liberal arts curriculum is about “all” to “all.” It means that all people have the freedom to find out all things according to what they want (Liliweri, 2009).

Multiculturalism is guided by several related theories. The first theory of James A. Banks confirms that the construction of knowledge conducted by students in a learning will increasingly emphasize the importance of students as subject of learning. According to him, the most important part of education is to teach students “how they think” and not “teach what they think”. He said that students should be taught to think to understand all kinds of knowledge so that he can be involved actively in the debate about the construction and interpretation of knowledge. The second theory of Bill Martin stresses the importance of students to have difference in the way of seeing and understanding something so that it will construct their knowledge and encourage them to be men who see difference as something natural so that differences need not be a human disorder. Through his book, Multiculturalism: Consumerist or Transformational? Martin took his idea that all the issues associated with the development of multiculturalism grow and develop in a question about the difference in the way of seeing and understanding, as being done by philosophers and social theorists. The third theory of Martin J. Beck Matustik illustrates that the rule of law and order can not be discharged in any of the multicultural character of society. Therefore, the rule of law and order should be able to represent all the interests so that clash of civilization is not the case. He explained that all the debates conducted by the West is always associated with the law or order of a multicultural society. In his article, “Ludic Corporate and Imperial Multicultural: Impostors of Democracy and Cartographers of the New World Order,” he said that the cultural, politic, and economic war is going. The last theory of Judith M. Green is on education as a medium for individual and social change. Therefore, in order to be effective in transforming the education community, it must conform to the character of the community. Green sees that Americans have always relied on education to make changes, both individual and social change. Through education, the Americans successfully transform the values ​​of a multicultural society in everyday life. To achieve this goal, interaction and cooperation among cultures are absolutely necessary (Liliweri, 2009).

  1. Culture

The word “culture” and multiculturalism have linkage concept to each other. “Culture” is a basic word of multiculturalism (Naim and Sauqi, 2008). Culture can be viewed from various perspectives that build a very broad area of ​​study. Meaning of culture ranges from individual spaces to public spaces that make the meaning and explanation of culture varied. However, culture can be limited in terms of who is involved with the culture. Humans engage with culture, both as a “create” or “destroy” the culture, and not the other gods creatures. Culture is the root of multiculturalism (Mahfud, 2009 & Maslikhah, 2007).

Thus, the concept of multiculturalism is linked to the concept of culture.
The word “culture” consists of two words, namely intellect and power. “intelect” refers to the human spiritual expression, while the “power” is associated with the physical behavior of human beings, to express its ability to achieve a goal. Kroeber and Kluckhohn makes seven categories of the culture. The first category relates to the definition of culture. Most experts interpret the culture of a complex entire that consists of different elements, such as knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, habits, and some other capabilities produced by humans as members of society. The second category relates to the cultural history seen as a social heritage or tradition. The third category emphasizes the normative aspect. Culture is considered as a rule, or way of life (way of life). This category looks at culture as a unity of ideas, values, and behaviors. The fourth category of culture takes the approach that sees culture as something associated with the process of human adjustment to the natural surroundings as a medium for problem solving. This category emphasizes the process of learning and habituation to understand the nature around and place importance on the idea of ​​public relations with the environment. The fifth category relates to the structural aspects and is concentrated on the study of cultural patterns and organization. The sixth category interpretes culture as a product of the association, which emphasizes the importance of ideas and symbols. This category tries to interpret culture as a product or artifact that distinguishes humans from animals. Seventh category is in line with the expression of some scholars who consider the definition of culture incomplete and can not be judged according to present systematic definitions (Bey, 2003).

  1. Multiculturalism

Etymologically, multiculturalism is formed from three words, namely multi (many), culture (culture), and ism (understanding/teaching/belief) (Mahfud, 2009 & Maslikhah, 2007).

Terminologically, multiculturalism is the belief or understanding that every society is always associated with the culture and every society has a culture (Sham, 2009) or “a set of beliefs and practices are run by a group of people to understand themselves and their world, and organizes life their individual and collective “(Parekh, 2008). Multiculturalism is the idea that generates a stream of the view that there is cultural diversity in public life (Azra in Baidhawy, 2005). Cultural diversity can promote cultural equality, so that between one culture and other cultural entities are not mutually antagonistic (Sham, 2009), but instead be able to build a culture of harmony among them. Multiculturalism is a “social-intellectual movement that encourages the values ​​of diversity (diversity) as the core principles and reinforce the view that all cultural groups are treated equally (equal) and are equally respected” (Baidhawy, 2005) or “a belief that the group ethnic or cultural groups can coexist peacefully within the principles of co-existence marked by a willingness to respect other cultures” (Sparingga in Martono, etc., 2003).

  1. Result and Discussion

Multicultural have several categories of values ​​that can be used as a benchmark to track the Quranic verses related to those values. These categories are (1) learning to live in diversity, (2) mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual respect, (3) appreciation and interdependence among humans (solidarity), and (4) fight for conflict resolution and reconciliation without violence.

Quranic verses on learning to live in a different are Surah al-Baqarah [2]: 62, 213 and 256, Surah Ali Imran [3]: 19, 64, and 110, Surah an-Nisa [4]: ​​1 and 163 , Surah al-Maidah [5]: 69, Surah al-Kahf [18]: 29, Surah al-Hajj [22]: 34 and 67, Surah al-Fath [48]: 29, Surah al-Hujurat [49] : 13 and Surah al-Kafirun [109]: 6. The verses were chosen based on its content deemed to have relevance with learning to live in association with the difference. The content of these are (1) equal opportunity for anyone to believe in Allah and get the reward of Him, (2) the unity and brotherhood of mankind, (3) freedom of religion and belief, (4) some of the basic equation of religion, (5 ) ideal Islamic society, and (6) the truth comes from God and He ensures the happiness of the righteous believers.Quranic verses on mutual trust, mutual understanding, and mutual respect are the Surah al-Hujurat [49]: 11 and 12. The content is about (1) eliminating the hatred and presumption of guilt and (2) building trust and understanding.
Quranic verses on the appreciation of the interdependence among human (solidarity) are Surah an-Nisa [4]: ​​36 and al-Maidah [5]: 2. The content is about (1) doing good to man with no distinction as to race, ethnicity, religion, or class and (2) building solidarity among people. Quranic verses on fighting for conflict resolution and reconciliation of non-violence are Surah Ali Imran [3]: 134 and 159, Surah an-Nisa [4]: ​​135, al-Anfal [8]: 61-62, Surah an- Nahl [16]: 125, Surah al-Hajj [22]: 167-169, Surah al-Qashash [28]: 77, Surah Saba ‘[34]: 24-27, Surah al-Ankabut [29]: 46, Surah ash-Shura [42]: 37 and 42. The content is related to (1) reconciliation and dialogue among religions and beliefs, (2) be an indiscriminate one, (3) character of the Prophet in the community, (4) no following the lust, (5) enforcing the peace, and (6) God as judge of the difference.

  1. The Value of Living Learning in the Differences

Verse 62 of Surah al-Baqarah [2] talks about equal opportunity for all people of faith to get a good response from God Almighty. The requirement is they have to believe in Allah and the Hereafter and do the goodness. There are four classes referred to that paragraph. First, the class of the Muslims, that is, people who claim to believe in Prophet Muhammad. Second, the Jews, that is, people who claim to believe in Prophet Musa. Third, the Christians, that is, people who claim to believe in Jesus as. Fourth, people of Shabi’in, the idolaters, or followers of other religions and beliefs. They are also referred to as the believer in the power of the stars and believer in some prophets (Al-Maraghi, 2006).
Thus, this paragraph provides for the recognition and affirmation of religion and belief that they will get the goodness of God Almighty as long as they are faithful and do the goodness. What interesting is word Shabi’in. The word is defined as the followers of other religions and beliefs. In the present context, they are among the followers of religions other than Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. They can be the Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, Sinto, and community and followers of mystical belief in Almighty God that were scattered in the area of ​​West Java as in district of Cibubur Kuningan and Cililin Bandung. If they believe in Allah and the Last Day and do the goodness, they will get a reward from God Almighty.

Verse 62 of Surah al-Baqarah [2] is strengtened by the verse 213 that speaks mankind as a single race. This verse explains that since the first, human being was people with belief in monotheism, but after the fall of the instructions books such as the Torah, the Gospel, and Qur’an they quarreled and were divided (Shihab, 2010). Mankind as a single race shows that they are interconnected in life. There is no life for them unless they help each other in life. Their relation to each other precisely is built from the difference among them. This is because they are equipped with human potencies and capabilities of different reasoning. The Prophets as the giver of glad tidings and warning have a big hand in helping them to use the potenties and abilities (Al-Maraghi, 2006).

This is confirmed by verse 256 of Surah al-Baqarah [2]. The cause of the fall of this verse, as narrated by Ibn Abbas, is relation to a group of people from the Ansar society named Husen. He had two sons who are both Christians, later he asked the Prophet why he did not force them to enter Islam. So, this verse came down to answer the question Husen. Another report said that there had been a dispute between the father and both children of religious differences among them when they were one family, then they complained to the Messenger and the verse falls to address the problem (Al-Maraghi, 2006).

  1. Value of Mutual Trust, Mutual Understanding and Mutual Respect

The fall of verse 11 of Surah al-Hujurat [49] is with respect to ridicule of Bani Tamim to the companions of the Prophet who are considered poor, such as ‘Ammar, Bilal, Suhaib, Khabbab, Ibn Fuhairah, Salman al-Farisi, and Salim. Another report states this verse relates to Safiyyah bint ibn Huyaiy Akhtab. She came to the Prophet Muhammad and said the women taunted her by saying to her as a Jewish’s son of two Jews. Then, the Prophet said to her to say to them that the the father is Aaron, the uncle is Moses, and her husband is Muhammad (Al-Maraghi, 2006).

This verse describes prohibition to mock others and ridicule themselves and others and call each other with bad calling and is not liked by whom they called. This verse is addressed to all people, both men and women (Shihab, 2010). People who believe in Allah are called by this verse in order that their faith is not damaged and their social life is not collapsed because of the attitudes that are not commendable.

Verse 12 of Surah al-Hujurat [49] is a continuation of the previous verse that equally forbids people to do bad qualities. The difference is that bad characters in the previous verse are open and can be known directly by others, whereas in this verse the bad characters are hidden. Although hidden, but they can be triggers for them found in the previous verse. The bad characters contained in this verse are bad prejudice, finding fault of others, and discussing the disgrace of others. This verse clearly explains the parable of people who open and talk about the shame of others as they who eat the flesh of his own brother and they certainly would not want to eat and must avoid to eat it. As such, they should also avoid talking about the shame of others as they avoid to eat his brother’s carrion (Shihab, 2010).

  1. Value of Appreciation and Interdependence among Human (Solidarity)

Verse ​​36 of Surah an-Nisa [4] contains the advices that are not only addressed to believers, but all human beings. The advice is related to the obligation to worship God and not to associate Him with something else besides Him, to perfectly do goodness for both parents, families, relatives, orphans, the poor, neighbors who are close or far to home and kinship, colleague, Ibn sabil (street children and those who their supplies finished whreas they was still on the way), and bondsmen (Shihab, 2010).

According to the previous verse, the neighbors are part of the family, that is relatives of same village or residence. The religion encourages us to be kind to neighbors, despite different religions and beliefs. This has been exemplified by the Prophet when he wake a son of a Jewish neighbor. Ibn Umar also ordered servants to slaughter a goat presented to a Jewish neighbor. Ibn Umar’s attitude is in accordance with the Prophet: “No stopping Angel Gabriel bequeathes to me about a neighbor.” Another Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim reveales that the Prophet said: “Who believe in Allah and Hereafter , she has to do goodness to his neighbor “(Al-Maraghi, 2006).

Verse 2 of Surah al-Maidah [5] confirms the previous verse on the necessity of doing good such as helping each other. This verse relates to the necessity to help each other in righteousness and piety and prohibition to help in sin and transgression. This verse is “a fundamental principle in a partnership with anyone for the purpose of virtue and piety” (Shihab, 2010). The importance of the attitude of mutual help among people is described as follows.
“Order of mutual assistance in virtue and piety is a part of community foundations in the Qur’an, because it required the people to help each other in terms of anything that could be useful for individuals or groups in the religious life and their world and all pious activities which can prevent a destruction and badness for themselves “(Al-Maraghi, 2006).

  1. Value of Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation without Violence

Verse 134 of Surah Ali Imran [3] forgives attitudes regarding other people’s mistakes. Underlined of this paragraph is related to the attitude of giving forgiveness to people who have oppressed and this is part of doing good to people. There are three ways to do good contained in this paragraph. First, by giving usefulness to others, whether it is knowledge, service, or property. Second, restraining badness to others by not to retaliate evil with evil, although opportunity to do badness is very open. The second example is to hold anger. Third, forgiving him by freeing the rights that should be accepted. For those who do good, love of God is suffecient to have. Love of God is the highest rank counter (Al-Maraghi, 2006).

The verse is endorsed by verse 15 of Surah Ali Imran [3]. The last verse was revealed after the battle of Uhud. Some of his companions were guilty at the time, but the Prophet did not get tough. He remains soft by forgiving their mistakes. This is consistent with the content of verse 4 of Surah al-Qalam [68] explaining that the Messenger has a great moral and of verse 128 of Surah at-Taubat [9] revealing that the Prophet’s attitude is very gentle and loves people (Al-Maraghi, 2006). Other prophet’s noble characters are that he often consults with the companions of the problems people face. The Prophet conducts this tradition of deliberation during his life, but unfortunately after his death, the tradition of deliberation is no longer made, so that there is consideration that the deliberation is not part of the Islamic political tradition.

Four advantages of deliberation are (1) it may explain the levels of thinking and understanding, and levels of love and sincerity for the welfare of the people, (2) people’s reason and mind is varied, then with the deliberation, diverse opinions will emerge and can be considered by everyone, (3) capable of selecting the most appropriate opinion to be used or practiced, and (4) it can build togetherness among people, thus deliberation can unite different personality so that it can reach an agreement among them (Al-Maraghi, 2006).

​​Verse 135 of Surah an-Nisa [4] instructs human being to do justice for the public affairs can not be achieved except through justice and law enforcement can not be perfect except through justice enforcement. Stand for justice despite incriminating themselves, parents, or relatives and do not love someone because of poverty or wealth. Justice must take precedence over any considerations. Only tradition of Jahiliyyah that considers kinship or brotherhood (Al-Maraghi, 2006).



Modern exegeses contains four multicultural values, these are (1) learning to live in the diversity, (2) trusting, understanding, and respecting each other, (3) being inter-dependence and appreciation among people, and (4) practicing conflict resolution and reconciliation without violence.

Qur’anic verses that indicate the first value are fourteen, these are the Surah al-Baqarah [2]: 62, 213, and 256, Surah Ali Imran [3]: 19 and 110, Surah an-Nisa [4]: ​​1 and 163, Surah al-Maidah [5]: 69, Surah al-Kahf [18]: 29, Surah al-Hajj [22]: 34 and 67, Surah al-Fath [48]: 29, Surah al-Hujurat [49 ]: 13, and Surah al-Kafirun [109]: 6. The verses that indicate the second value are Surah al-Hujurat [49]: 11 and 12. The verses that indicate the third value are Surah an-Nisa [4]: ​​36 and al-Maidah [5]: 2. The verses that indicate the fourth value ​​are fifteen, these are Surah Ali Imran [3]: 64, 134 and 159, Surah an-Nisa [4]: ​​135, Surah al-Anfal [8]: 61and 62, Sura an-Nahl [16]: 125, Surah al-Hajj [22]: 167-169, Surah al-Qasas [28]: 77, Surah al-Ankabut [29]: 46, Surah Saba ‘[34]: 24 to 27, Surah ash-Shura [42]: 37 and 40. So, number of verses indicating four multicultural values are thirty three.


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